New Ecumenical Consensus Tracks Edwards Fight Against Poverty
By: Mark W Adams

Senator John Edwards official announcement of his presidential candidacy with New Orleans as a backdrop was intended to emphasize the core theme of his character and campaign -- a fight against poverty in America.

Indeed, he consistently returns to the idea of creating "One America" to end poverty in our time. We have heard this since the 2004 primaries. It is a cause he has clearly staked out for his own. This is his issue.

Now, despite the best efforts of a radical, right-wing smear to brand this clearly religious man as anti-Catholic or even anti-Christian, Edwards can find common cause with the Christian Churches Together (CCT) who announced the consensus of 36 churches and national organizations on the "importance of evangelism and the need to eliminate domestic poverty."

You can get their entire Statement on Poverty here. Clearly the Edwards campaign should find friends within this organization.

This is a gift, literally, from above folks. CCT spans the universe of American Christian churches -- yes, even Catholics. They've taken five years to reach a ecumenically agreeable mission statement emphasizing the importance of spreading Christ's message and which calls poverty in the US a "scandal."

That's it, they undoubtedly will have much more to say, but after five years of discussion, they felt that these two themes were universal to their beliefs and important enough to launch their organization.
Dr. William Shaw of the National Baptist Convention USA, Inc., declared that poverty in the United States to be a "scandal."

Poverty "will not be redressed without intentional and painful effort by the total U.S. community," Shaw said. "CCT calls the country's conscience to that effort and commits itself to being a part of that redressing."
Got that? Now do we all agree what a real scandal is? There is a biblical imperative to overcome poverty.

And they're calling out every presidential candidate to make the fight against poverty a priority. Jim Wallis reports on their agenda.
The next meeting of the church leaders will be in January of 2008, in Washington, D.C., in the heat of a presidential election campaign. In the nation's capitol, the church leaders from across America's theological and political spectrum hope to both re-commit themselves to the mission of eliminating the "scandal" of U.S. domestic poverty and to call upon the candidates from both parties to put poverty near the very top of the nation's political agenda. That, my friends, is a big deal.
For John Edwards, this could be huge. He's been answering this challenge with his words and deeds right along. It is the theme underscoring everything he stands for.
Edwards, August 29, 2006:
The number of Americans living in poverty remains unchanged at 37 million. A year ago, the President said we have a duty to confront poverty with bold action, and then he turned a blind eye once again. If the President won't act, I hope the American people will - talk to your church or synagogue or mosque, contact a local charity, anything you can do will make a difference."
For years, liberal and progressive commentators in and out of cyberspace have been calling on ways for Democrats to reach out to the religious. I think they just reached out to John Edwards.

This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

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Mark W Adams said...

This post just made the "recommended diary" list at JRE's blog.

I added this comment to the thread:

36 Churches founded this thing, and when I say Churches I mean national religious organizations, including what Wallis called the, "'five families' - Evangelical/Pentecostal, Roman Catholic, Racial/Ethnic, Historic Protestant, and Orthodox."

You'll like this, the Call to Renewal/Sojourners are founding members! So is The Salvation Army.

Here's the list:
American Baptist Churches, USA
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese
Armenian Orthodox Church in America
Bread for the World
Call to Renewal/Sojourners
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Christian Reformed Church in NA
Church of God Ministries (Anderson, IN)
Church of God of Prophecy
Cooperative Baptist Fellowship
Coptic Orthodox Church
Evangelicals for Social Action
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Free Methodist Church
Friends United Meeting
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
International Council of Community Churches
International Pentecostal Holiness Church
Moravian Church* (provisional until 2006)
National Association of Congregational Christian Churches
National Baptist Convention of America
National Baptist Convention, USA
Open Bible Churches
Orthodox Church in America
Reformed Church in America
Syrian Orthodox Church
The Episcopal Church
The Evangelical Covenant Church
The Korean Presbyterian Church in America
The Presbyterian Church USA — provisional until 2010
The Salvation Army
United Church of Christ
United Methodist
US Conference of Catholic Bishops
World Vision

Other groups are exploring membership, like the Reformed Church in America, which has a member on the steering committee but has not officially joined yet...

Churches/Organizations in decision making process or present as observers:
African Methodist Episcopal Church
AME Zion Church
America's National Prayer Committee
Association of Vineyard Churches
Baptist General Convention of Texas
Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
Church of God (Cleveland)
Church of God in Christ, Inc
Church of the Brethren
Church of the Nazarene
Community of Christ
Mennonite Church USA
Elim Fellowship
Evangelical Free Church of America
Mission America Coalition
Nat'l Missionary Baptist Convention of America
Pentecostal Free Will Baptist Church
Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc.

Looking at this list, how is it possible that Fallwell, Robertson, and Donohue think they have the right to speak for anybody.

William Burnett said...

Got you on CFD too. Thanks for point out the statement!

Mark W Adams said...